Why is fiber so important?

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Fiber helps control blood sugar levels.

Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, helping to keep your blood sugar levels stable. This is why it is better to eat a whole apple rather than apple juice, or whole grain bread rather than white bread.

Fiber regulates the good bacteria in your gut.

Fiber promotes the presence of healthy bacteria in your gut and helps you have regular bowel movements. A high fiber diet, one that eliminates processed foods, may contribute to reduced risk of autoimmune disease like Crohn's, diverticulitis, and  IBS,.

Fiber keeps you full.

Because it takes longer to digest, fiber keeps you full longer. This contributes to weight loss because high fiber foods are also less calorie dense. For example, 100 calories of broccoli fills about 3 cups, where 100 calories of chicken breast amounts to less than half a cup. 

A high fiber diet reduces your risk of disease.

In addition to digestive diseases, a high fiber diet helps prevent many forms of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

How do you know what foods are high in fiber?

First, try to eat foods in their most natural form; stay away from packages and mixes. The more processed food is, the more fiber has been stripped away. Look for the word "whole" when buying grain products. Also, check nutrition labels. Anything with less than 3 grams of fiber per serving is pretty processed.